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Three Ways to Prepare for a Career Change

Take This Job and …

You are at your wit’s end. You hate your current job, but you don’t know where to turn. You have to make money to survive, but this just isn’t cutting it. You hate what you do and you can’t imagine spending the rest of your life with this kind of drudgery. What do you do?

The dreaded two words that strike fear in many people: change careers. Easier said than done, right? Well, it might be a lot of more feasible than you think if you implement strategies to make the transition painless and effective.

Adopt a Workable Strategy

In order to take a path in the right direction, you need to know where you have been and where you don’t want to head again. You need to know what you like and dislike. The best career change is one in which you are interested, one that is marketable and one you like. “Like” is an essential word here.

Make a list of your priorities, what you like, where you really want to head and how much income you want to generate to support your ideal lifestyle. Your new career path cannot conflict with your core values and what you ultimately want to accomplish.

Decide what skills you will need to acquire and what education you may need to have to obtain that dream job. Figure out what is the most feasible and workable direction given your current situation.

Will you need to attend night school or seek out an online MBA? Will the new career require a degree, certification or technical/vocational training? Will training require you to quit your current job and seek out something that is more workable, given your time constraints, schedule and financial situation? Plan your work and work your plan.

Don’t let money be the biggest motivator. A career chosen purely for financial benefit is a career that can lead to disaster. You need to have other common elements to make you want to perform that job every day.

Seek out a career counselor and get evaluated for your strengths and weaknesses. Community colleges and universities have placement/career centers that evaluate incoming students to tailor an academic program and direction that is most suitable and effective. Talk with a counselor on career options available in your area. Seek out the most likely career to achieve the most success.

Factor in all of your obstacles and issues. Conduct an honest personal inventory. Make sure the curriculum you choose or career path is workable given your age, current educational status, physical limitations and financial obligations. Write down a solid plan of action.

Once you have completed your course of action, look into what will be needed to accomplish your goals. If you need a new resume to ensure the job you seek, consult with a resume consultant who can objectively evaluate your resume. A successful and fruitful job search and career change hinge heavily on your overall presentation. That starts with effectively presenting your experience and credentials to future employers. Your resume must showcase your strengths and accomplishments.

Do your research. Go to the library or purchase a book or online publication that explains effective career change strategies. Many books have been published on this topic to accommodate the upwardly mobile professional and ever-changing job market. Some good choices might be: How to Get the Perfect Promotion, What Color is Your Parachute, How to Change Things When Change is Hard or Recruit to High Flyer.

Look into some motivational books. Successful job growth often requires a change in attitude and personal improvement strategies. There is a never ending list of motivational books and publications on behavioral modification and attitudinal changes. These books teach serious personal analysis with tried and true application to implement the change needed to succeed in work and in life. Some options might be: Kick Your Excuses Goodbye, Think and Grow Rich, The Greatest Salesman, The Magic of Thinking Big, How to Win Friends and Influence People, Success Built to Last or Personal Development for Smart People.

Make sure your career choice is motivated by you. Only you can make the decision that is right for you. A significant other, friend or family member should not influence your career path. They should also not be the sole reason for a change. The direction you choose has to mesh with your likes/dislikes, strengths and personality. You have got to be the one to want to make this change.

Network with other people in the career path you seek. Get advice, get a mentor and talk to people who are doing what you want to do. Air your concerns; learn the stumbling blocks to avoid and the strategies for success by talking to people who are in the know.

Never jump into a career change without doing all of your research. A poorly researched plan is a recipe for disaster. You must always weigh all of your options to give yourself the best possible direction and choices. If you do not examine all of the possibilities you are selling yourself short. That can only lead to dissatisfaction and another unwanted career change.

Don’t let the hatred you feel for your current job be the main reason for making a career change. You may like your career, but not your current position. You need to know the difference and seriously evaluate your motivations. If you want a different job, seek out ways to accomplish that. Look for companies that offer these possibilities and strategize on how to get in on the ground floor of their operation for that perfect job.

Be objective and honest with yourself. A successful career change cannot be accomplished under the guise of subjectivity. Never delude yourself into thinking a job is perfect without first seriously asking yourself about your strengths and weaknesses and what you really want. Implement a workable strategy to ensure you will achieve the career of your dreams.

Bill